In the wake of the hype and commentary on SAP’s midmarket product announcement on September 19, 2007 (See MGI Research report “Beyond the MidMarket – SAP Bets the Future on Business ByDesign” for our analysis), we’ve begun interviews with SAP’s beta customers. Here’s what the Fesnak & Associates’ partner in charge of the SAP BBD project had to say about their experience so far.
Fesnak & Associates is a 50 employee accounting and management consulting firm based in Blue Bell, PA. They are currently “live” on two modules – HR and CRM, and have a phased implementation plan to rollout AP/AR, time and attendance, and billing in the months ahead, probably in mid-2008. Given the dramatic seasonality in their business, they are unlikely to be doing anything major with the system during Q1 of 2008 (tax and audit season).
Behind the Hype “Live” is somewhat misleading – they have a single HR user, and a single CRM user. The CRM user is collecting sales leads that are typed into excel, and re-keying them into the BBD system. In time, the CRM functionality will replace their usage of excel, and they anticipate 20-25 users on the system. On the HR side, they have outsourced payroll, and had paper-based HR processes that are being replaced by the SAP system. The financials, time and attendance and billing functionality will displace their current software solutions.
Why SAP? The credibility of SAP was a significant part of their decision to join the beta program. In addition, Fesnak has a growing BPO practice, in which they provide outsourced finance to mid-size growth companies. Their vision is to use BBD as a competitive differentiator, enabling Fesnak to provide BPO services to their clients in a single solution. Currently their clients use software packages from companies like Intuit (Quickbooks), Sage (Peachtree financials), Netsuite, and Microsoft (Solomon).
Fesnak has been impressed with SAP’s commitment to the project. SAP has been an active listener and responsive to Fesnak’s input. It sounds like the SAP implementation team has had a fairly high degree of involvement in the project, which is to be expected for a beta program. Our contact at Fesnak has hands-on experience implementing ERP systems, and has been postively surprised at how much functionality SAP has built into the BBD system, and how relatively easy the system has been to configure and use.
BBD is clearly a beta product in its infancy, not yet out of the delivery room, let alone the hospital. The good news is that the vital signs appear to be normal. SAP claims 20 beta customers (companies). We would be pleasantly surprised if the system has more than 100 users in total at this point in time. The next milestone will be when a customer puts confidence and a real workload (50 plus users, multiple modules, and unplugs its old systems) on the system – likely in late Q4 or Q1 next year.